Five Life Lessons of Baseball

I recently had the opportunity to share the following story with an old friend, and with a new friend. Given that the baseball season is still fresh and new, I am reposting.

A couple years ago, my oldest son faced a difficult situation. As a freshman, he did not make his high school baseball team. That meant for the first time since he was five, he would not be playing organized baseball in the spring. After seeing his name wasn’t on the list, I had ten minutes on the drive home to figure how I would share this heartbreaking news. What follows are five points I thought most important for him to take away from the experience.

BallIt was a difficult conversation where we discussed his two options. The first was to hang up his cleats and call it a career. The second was to decide he wasn’t done playing baseball, and do everything he could to keep playing. To his credit, he worked hard and put himself in a position to play. He ended up earning a spot on a team in a wooden bat league as a 17-year old in a league with players over 18, most of whom are over 20 and play or played baseball on Division I teams.


1.       Nobody cares more for you and nothing matters more than family.

2.       Events don’t define you. How you respond to those events is what defines you.

3.       Don’t concern yourself with things you can’t control. It’s a waste of time. Conversely, control everything that impacts your ability to succeed.

4.       Never give up easily on something you care about deeply.

5.       You must EARN EVERYTHING you want and need. Nobody GIVES you anything. That means you must work TWICE as hard as the next guy to GUARANTEE you achieve your goals.

I’ve used this list to coach teams, both on fields and in offices. As a father, I hope all three of my children can use these lessons as a way to gain confidence needed to maximize their ability to reach their potential. As a leader within my company, I hope everyone on my team is able to practice these concepts in establishing their priorities so they can bring their best to work and to their lives every day. As a teammate in life with everyone in my family, business and community, these lessons remind me what’s most important.

Tyler is currently finishing his sophomore year at Florida State University where he’s learning how to handle life on his own. A list of these lessons is framed and sits above his bed in his room at school.


Multitasking – Does it Make Us Better?

The term “multi-tasking” began as a technical term describing computers that could do more than one thing at a time. As computers became more common in the workplace and society, humans soon were expected to perform the same way – and the term began applying to a human ability to do more than one thing at a time. Before long, as we were exposed to more and more information through the internet, e-mail, instant messages, phone calls and meetings, some viewed the ability to multi-task as a prerequisite for success and productivity.

Over the years, we’ve been able to appreciate multi-tasking for what it is – a habitual behavior creating a false sense of accomplishment by allowing the multi-tasker to cross things off a list without giving complete attention to any one thing. The multi-tasker is undoubtedly very busy. The reality is crossing things off a list doesn’t necessarily equate to productivity or accomplishment. Furthermore, multi-tasking has become a part of our culture at the cost of focus, thoughtfulness and true engagement. We’ve become a society glued to the little and big screens with a fear that if we put the toys down, we might miss something.

This past week, Harvard Business Review listed the top postings from 2012. The most read article in 2012 was The Magic of Doing One Thing at a Time, written by Tony Schwartz. If you’ve followed Tony’s writings (among them, The Power of Full Engagement, co-written with Dr. Jim Loehr), you’ll know his research supports alternating periods of intense engagement with periods of intentional disengagement as a way to bring your full and complete energy to what you do. As human beings, we do not work well when continually focused without breaks and when pulled in multiple directions. Working in that environment is not sustainable, and in Mr. Schwartz’ words, has created an energy crisis in our country of a personal nature.

The column above is worth some attention as we head into the new year and the season of resolution. It’s time we appreciate multi-tasking for what it really is – doing more than one thing at a time half-assed. It’s important to set aside time for thought and strategic consideration. Most importantly, in the words of Wally Armstrong (co-author of The Mulligan, with Ken Blanchard), we need to adjust back from humans doing to human beings.

Happy New Year everyone, and remember to Just Keep Pouring!

What Comes First – Success or Happiness?

Over the weekend, an article was posted on the Just Keep Pouring page on Facebook about how random, intentional acts of kindness can make kids more popular(, in case you’re looking for it).  In that post, I mentioned there have been unprecedented developments in the area of positive psychology over the past few years. Shawn Achor brings it together in his book The Happiness Advantage, and in the brief and entertaining TED video below. In brief, the old premise – that success creates happiness – has proven to be false. It’s actually the other way around. Studies show consistently that happiness creates success. And while “happiness” may seem a bit squishy in the workplace, it’s important to understand because it has a measurable effect on results. The way to happiness isn’t necessarily with Stuart Smalley-like unfounded daily affirmations (although reminding yourself of your strengths can help in certain situations), but with specific actions such as the ones highlighted in the attached video. What better resolution than to resolve to make ourselves – and the world around us – happier in 2013? Enjoy, and Just Keep Pouring!